Institute faults Integrity law over legal defects

By Jackson Okoth

The Institute of Certified Public Secretaries of Kenya has raised concerns over the Leadership and Integrity Bill 2012, saying it does not establish credible mechanisms for vetting.

The institute says the new law fails to provide for a mechanism to screen persons seeking election to public offices to ensure they conform to requirements of Chapter Six of the Constitution.

“There is need to amend the law to provide for procedures to elect or select leaders based on personal integrity, competence and suitability.

A person who satisfies this system should be issued with a certificate of compliance to gauge their compliance with Chapter Six of the Constitution before they are elected or selected for office,” said the institute’s chairperson Catherine Musakali.

In a statement, she said the integrity law also fails to make it compulsory that individuals seeking State offices declare their income, assets and liabilities and undergo periodic review of the same.

The institute says wealth declaration is a globally accepted governance tool for discouraging state officers from abusing their offices for private gain.?Thus, failure to have wealth declaration provisions in the Leadership and Integrity Bill is a significant lacuna, she added.

“If this gap is not addressed, it will translate to lower standards of leadership and integrity on the part of State offices contrary to principles of good governance, public expectations and the letter and spirit of the Constitution,” said Musakali.

Gainful employment

She added: “The Constitution provides that State officers shall not participate in any other gainful employment.

“Therefore, the current bill negates this by allowing for unrestricted directorship in private companies and participation in business undertakings that do not require active participation”.

The institute maintains State officers should be limited in their participation in business and employment because in most cases, this is used as conduit for corrupt transactions.

ICPSK said good governance could not thrive in the public sector without proper and versatile administrative and enforcement mechanisms to deter and punish offers with appropriate punishment.

It said there was need to eliminate the possibility of challenges to prosecuting authority by clearly defining and outlining the mandate of each of the bodies involved in enforcing the leadership and integrity law in Kenya.

“We expected this law to fill the current gaps that leave the Ethics and Ant-Corruption Commission dependent on the Director of Public Prosecutions in enforcing the leadership and integrity law.

“However, it fails in this regard in that EACC is left without an effective recourse in prosecuting cases in breach of Chapter Six where the Director of Public Prosecutions refuses to prosecute without good cause as expected by Article 79 of the Constitution,” said Musakali.

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Institute of Certified Public Secretaries of Kenya Leadership and Integrity Bill 2012 law